Editors Note: This is the first in an eight part series discussing past seminars at our school. The entire series can be found under the video category.
We’ve been fortunate to host Peter Bernath Sensei several times over the years, most recently in January 2009. It really is a privilege to observe his technique; our students are always grateful when he visits. The videos and pictures below were taken from our seminar in March 1996. Don’t worry if the location seems unfamiliar—at this point in our history we were training in a dance studio in the Mandarin area. We’ve come a long way since then!
In the background you can see Chris Rozette, one of our early instructors, and Grady Lane Sensei, chief instructor of Brevard Aikikai. Neil Bednar is uke.
To me, what’s interesting about this technique is the throw itself; or more specifically, the cut and follow through. Notice the connection Sensei makes with uke’s hips. The throw, (really a cut to uke’s center), is a perpendicular strike which casts uke away. It is as much a hip throw as shiho-nage.
It is also the type of throw Dee teaches—a perpendicular cut across uke’s center that redirects uke’s energy outwards. You’ll see this hip movement throughout her waza.
In this next video, Sensei is executing a direct kaiten-nage, soto variation. Joey Turner is uke. There is a lot going on here, but what I wanted to mention is Joey’s ukemi. Dee learned what is sometimes referred to as soft or wide legged ukemi at New York Aikikai, which she then introduced to the Jacksonville area. Although her primary influence here was Donovan Waite Sensei, she also trained with Joey, himself a former deshi.
Our students undoubtedly recognize this style of ukemi from our classes. If there is one thing that distinguishes our school, I think it would be this—Dee’s emphasis on soft ukemi.
Below are two still shots of the seminar.
Comments? Observations? Fire away!